Thai Tofu-Pork Soup Recipe

Leela Punyaratabandhu

Note: You can use plain water to make this soup. But if you feel like using broth, keep in mind that the basic stock that is used in modern Thai cuisine is most commonly made with pork bones or chicken carcasses and not much else. If you use the kind of stock that is made with added onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, etc., it will drastically change the flavor and appearance of this soup. I use plain water; the flavor of the pork and seasoning paste in it as well as the soy sauce and fish sauce which you add later are enough to turn it into a flavorful broth even within such short cooking time.

Please note that, at least traditionally, this is not a stand-alone soup to be eaten on its own, but an entrée to be eaten with rice as part of a typical Thai meal ensemble. I highly recommend a meal of rice, Thai omelet (drizzled with Thai Sriracha), and a bowl of this soup for a simple weeknight meal.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 2 medium cloves garlic (10g), peeled

  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped cilantro stems, plus leaves for garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole white peppercorns

  • 1/2 pound (225g) ground pork

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (25mllight soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20mlfish sauce

  • 4 1/2 cups (1.1L) homemade or store-bought chicken stock or water

  • 1 pound (455g) soft tofu packed in water, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 green onions (20g), cut into 1-inch pieces


  1. In a mortar and pestle, combine garlic, cilantro stems, and peppercorns and pound until a fine paste forms, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  2. Add ground pork, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon fish sauce. Using your hands or a sturdy silicone spatula, mix until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

  3. In a medium pot, bring chicken stock or water to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Form seasoned pork mixture into 1-inch balls and gently drop into simmering stock. Cook until pork balls float, about 2 minutes.

  4. Add remaining soy sauce and fish sauce to stock. Gently add tofu cubes and return to a simmer, then add green onions and remove from heat. Adjust seasoning as necessary with more fish sauce.

  5. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Some freshly-ground white pepper on top is optional, but recommended. Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
267 Calories
16g Fat
4g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 267
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 1050mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 358mg 28%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 464mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)